Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What you need to know about your 2018 property assessment notice, property tax, and affordability in Langley City

The BC Assessment Authority has mailed out 2018 property assessment notices to people and corporations that own property in the Fraser Valley. The assessed value of property is based on the market value on July 1, 2017.

Historically in Langley City, the price of single family housing has increased in value at a faster rate than townhouses or apartments. The following table shows the change between 2016 and 2018.

Municipality 2016 Assessment Typical Change in Value 2017 Assessment Typical Change in Value 2018 Assessment
City of Langley (Example 1) $540,000.00 34.00% $725,000.00 8.00% $788,700.00
City of Langley (Example 2) $528,000.00 35.00% $711,000.00 10.00% $783,500.00
City of Langley- Strata Condo N/A N/A $242,000.00 36.00% $329,000.00

This has changed between 2017 and 2018. While single family housing have continued to increase in value, there has been a significant increase in the value of condos in Langley City. This rapid increase in condo values is concerning as it further limits the availability of affordable housing in our community. This spike in condo values is likely a spillover from the housing affordability crises in other communities west of the Fraser River.

As I posted about earlier in the fall, the federal and provincial governments have a large role to play in providing affordable housing options to people. In Langley City, the municipality has essentially zoned the area north of the Nicomekl for apartments and townhouses to support more affordable housing options, but we still need the help of the province and federal governments to ensure there is affordable housing for all.

One of the common misconceptions is how property tax and property value is linked. Hopefully, I can clear this up.

At the beginning of the year, council approves a budget for the municipality. Operating expenditures increase yearly. This means that a revenue increase is required as municipalities must have balanced budgets.

In this simplified example, a municipality that only has residential properties determined that a 4% property tax increase was required to balance the budget. How would that impact people’s property tax?

2017 Property Value Property Value Change 2018 Property Value 2017 Property Tax 2018 Property Tax Property Tax Change
Single Family House A $750,000.00 7.00% $802,500.00 $3,750.00 $3,490.88 -6.91%
Single Family House B $600,000.00 10.00% $660,000.00 $3,000.00 $2,871.00 -4.30%
Condo A $200,000.00 30.00% $260,000.00 $1,000.00 $1,131.00 13.10%
Condo B $300,000.00 35.00% $405,000.00 $1,500.00 $1,761.75 17.45%
Average Property Value Increase 20.50%
Property Tax Collected $9,250.00 $9,254.63 4%

The preceding table showed an example change in property values that averaged out to 20.5%.

If property values increased faster than the average, you will see an increase in your property tax that is relative to the change in value. Likewise, if property values increases slower than the average, you will see a decrease that is relative to the change in value.

The current property tax system creates this imbalance. This is why Langley City council has been calling for the provincial government to fix the system. We would like to have a system where property tax can be applied at different rates for single-family and multi-family properties to ensure a more balanced property tax distribution. You can read more about this in a previous post.

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